I want to visit Malaysia and Indonesia in the summer of 2015 for a diving vacation to two sites: Sipidan, Malaysia and Indonesia, including Bali. I also want to see orangutans in Bornea.
Dream trip. Wildly EXPENSIVE.
I’m looking at about $1800 in airfares alone.
Lots of airlines fly over there. Air Canada among them. I’m an Aeroplan member and I want to fly on miles.
I need 90-thousand miles for Kota Kinabalu economy class. Business class will require 130-thousand miles. (This could shift upward as Aeroplan has announced changes to take effect in 2014.)
Here’s what I’ve been doing to collect miles.
- Got an Amex Aeroplan charge card. This gave me 15-thousand miles for spending a certain amount in the first 90 days. I charge as much as I can on the card and pay it off each month.
- Since not all merchants except Amex, I changed my existing CIBC Visa card to an AeroGold card. This is in the works and should get me 15-thousand miles.
- Book travel on Star Alliance partners that let you take your points on Aeroplan. Means having to deal with United Airlines. A bit of a downer. This got me 5400 Aeroplan miles in August on a trip to Puerto Vallarta.
- Traded 6000 American Airlines miles I won’t use for 4000 Aeroplan miles on the points.com website. Paid $120 CDN to do the trade, but I think it’s worth it.
- Booked a trip with Air Canada Vacations that will give me several thousand travel and bonus miles. Means connecting through Toronto instead of a direct flight on a charter airline that doesn’t have a rewards plan. I’m fine with that.
- Gas up at Esso. This usually gives about a dozen miles on each fill up.
- Do all my drugstore shopping at Rexall, which gives me Aeroplan miles. Sometimes Rexall has bonus offers that can add hundreds of miles.
- Got 150 miles for enrolling with Park & Fly and Costco. Means getting the occasional promo email.
- Book hotels that give Aeroplan miles. Got 250 miles for an overnight stay in Seattle and 500 for staying at the Coast Hotel in Kamloops. Received roughly 150 miles for hotels in Thailand booked on the Air Canada website.
Costs accrued so far: Annual fees for Aeroplan credit cards: $240 ($120 for each of two cards); Points.com transaction: $120 (one time fee) = $360
60,394 miles and counting. I’m no expert on mileage points, but I’m getting the hang of it. Will keep you posted on my progress.